UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed his deep concern on Monday about the clear violations of international humanitarian law in Gaza and stressed the importance of protecting civilians. He also called for a humanitarian ceasefire, saying that the unfolding catastrophe makes it more urgent with every passing hour. He added that more food, water, medicine, and fuel need to enter Gaza and that the Rafah crossing alone cannot handle aid trucks of the required size.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said that the Israeli occupation bombed about 50 schools and the agency’s facility in Gaza, which sheltered 700,000 displaced people. He also said that the number of trucks arriving in Gaza is “very small,” and the supplies that arrive are less than what should be provided.
On the other hand, Hamas leader Osama Hamdan accused the occupation army of spreading lies and fabricating audio recordings of movement members. He said that the occupation army was suffering a military failure in the battle and was broadcasting 10-year-old pictures from the Indonesian hospital website. He invited the United Nations to visit hospitals to verify the occupation’s lies. He also said that the occupation’s losses are much greater than what it declares and that this is the reason for its unprecedented criminal bombing of civilians in Gaza. He affirmed that “Hamas will remain and no force on earth will be able to snatch it from its land and its people”.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry also criticized the world for acting to release 240 Israeli prisoners and ignoring two people kidnapped by the occupation in Gaza.
For his part, the Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh said that any attempts to displace Palestinians from Gaza or the West Bank are a red line and Jordan will consider them a declaration of war. He said that all options are on the table within the framework of his country’s “gradual position” in dealing with the war on Gaza and its repercussions. He also said that “Israel’s impunity and silence over its violations against Palestinian civilians constitute a shameful double standard,” and that the “brutal attack” did not distinguish between civilian and military targets and even affected safe areas and ambulances.
In a related context, South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor announced the recall of South African diplomats from Israel to assess the relations between the two states. She expressed her country’s deep concern about the continued killing of children and innocent civilians in the Palestinian territories. “The nature of Israel’s response has become tantamount to collective punishment, and we call for a comprehensive ceasefire”.
Other countries, such as Chile, Turkey, Honduras, Jordan, Bahrain, and Venezuela, took similar steps, whether by withdrawing or recalling ambassadors.
In a statement, European Union foreign policy official Josep Borrell said that the tragedy taking place in the Middle East is the result of a collective political and moral failure. He said, “Everyone thought that normalization between Israel and Arab countries would bring peace, but that did not happen. The extremist forces in Israel want to end the Palestinian presence in the West Bank”. He added that the Europeans must provide more than humanitarian support. “We are facing a test of our credibility”.
Moreover, the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen -who supports Israel-, said that forced displacement of Palestinians outside Gaza and permanent Israeli military presence there is not an option. She stated: “Hamas can not be allowed to continue ruling the Gaza Strip, introducing international troops led by the UN is on the table.”
She also announced that the Commission – which politically stands with Israel- will provide a further €25m in humanitarian aid. “This quadruples EU humanitarian assistance to over €100m for Gaza this year.”